GM Promotion: A Guide To Golf In Egypt - The Jewel In Africa's Crown

Just a five hour flight from the UK, Egypt offers a golf experience like no other...

golf in egypt

Just a five hour flight from the UK, Egypt offers a golf experience like no other...

A Guide To Golf In Egypt - The Jewel In Africa's Crown

One day you could be lost in your own thoughts cruising down the Nile, the next on the vibrant streets of Cairo, soaking in the city’s ancient wonders. Egypt’s magnificent monuments, tombs and famous pyramids attract millions of tourists every year, as do the sandy beaches along its stunning Red Sea coastline.

In recent years, Egypt has strengthened its growing portfolio of world-class golf courses, too, while offering travelling golfers superb value for money. With a favourable year-round golfing climate, it makes visiting a must.

Katameya Heights

Should Cairo be stop number one on your itinerary, there are a number of wonderful courses worth visiting. It’s always an enticing view when the lush fairways come into sight – that green glow against the desert backdrop giving you the itch to head straight to the course.

Katameya Heights Golf & Tennis Resort is one such place, thanks to designer Yves Bureau, who, in the early 1990s, was responsible for turning a desert landscape into a lush golfing oasis.

Katameya Heights: Greens to die for

You’ll find the whole package here: 18 championship holes, a nine-hole course, an expansive practice area and extensive leisure facilities, including one of Egypt’s premier tennis academies.

Golf-wise, there are many stand-out holes. The signature par-5 15th may just top the lot; its elevated tee offers stunning views across the capital, while the fairway below doglegs to a well-protected green.

Katameya Heights

A demanding finish follows, with a lake and out of bounds making the par-3 17th a fearsome challenge for us all.

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Health club and Spa

With so much more on site, you could be forgiven for staying put. A well-timed visit to the health club and spa is highly recommended, especially after having negotiated the hilly fairways. You can take a dip in the jacuzzi, de-stress in the steam room or book a relaxing massage.

Even if you choose to relax, you should  tackle Cairo’s ‘must see list’ the next day. Or, maybe you’re ready for another 18?

Over on the west side of Cairo, The Allegria, which opened in 2010, is a strong contender as far as Egypt’s number one goes.

The Allegria: Possibly Egypt's best golf club

Greg Norman and his team have worked their magic here in using the setting’s natural lakes, streams, rock features, vegetation and undulating topography to create a beautiful layout.

With its large, undulating greens and sprawling bunkers, your short game will need to be razor sharp to score well.

Consider it a job very well done if you manage to play anywhere near your handicap, especially during your first visit. It’s a course you’d certainly want another crack at, armed with a little extra knowledge. If so, you’ll be warmly welcomed back by the friendly staff.

Elsewhere, the aptly named Dreamland Golf Resort is just ten minutes from the Pyramids of Giza, so there are more fantastic photo opportunities to be had.

See wonders like the Great Sphinx of Giza

The Open Championship of Egypt has been hosted here on three occasions, as well as several other tours, including the Alps Tour in 2015, when the Karl Litten-designed layout challenged a top field in the Dreamland Pyramids Open.

While the championship course could be considered a bit of a brute off the tips – measuring over 7,000 yards – the 27-hole complex can be enjoyed by players of all abilities, with a number  of tee positions.

The Allegria

For those who like a challenge, Dreamland is one of Egypt’s toughest tests, its fairways often narrower than they appear. Then there’s the water – scenic, but a constant danger, especially down 9 and 18.

The resort has plenty more attractions, including a Spa & Wellness Centre, which offers a range of treatments, and the Dreamland Equestrian Club, where you may discover latent riding skills you didn’t know you had under the watchful eye of an international French trainer.

Relaxing by the beach or pool is always an option

Then there’s the amusement park and shops – perfect for those who get a little restless after too much downtime. Built over 150 acres, Dreampark is one of the largest of its kind in the Middle East.

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Mirage City

Heading back east, across the Nile, the JW Marriott Cairo’s award-winning Mirage City golf course features a majestic and challenging 18-hole championship course, as well as a nine-hole course ideal for amateur or casual golfers. There’s no excuse for poor putting here, with its greens consistently rated among the best in Cairo.

Back in 2010, Rory McIlroy opted to tee it up at Mirage City for the Challenge Tour’s Egyptian Open. Coming off victory at the Ryder Cup in Wales, the 21-year-old Ulsterman finished 12th in a strong field – one that included English duo Tommy Fleetwood and Eddie Pepperell.

Mirage City

Designed by Peter Harradine, water comes into play on 13 of the 18 holes. The pick of these comes at the par-5 17th, where a large fairway bunker guards the left and water encroaches down the entire right side. If you just fancy nine, the par-32 Executive course is great fun, plus the floodlit range is top-class.

Like many of the courses in Egypt, green fees are very reasonable, in this case a little over £30. It’s worth paying just to sit back and relax in the clubhouse, an elegant retreat. The Cactus Bar, which overlooks the 9th and 18th greens, is particularly well geared for sports enthusiasts, especially those who enjoy the odd frame of snooker.

Mirage City

Also off course, JW Marriott’s Mandara Spa features a tantalising list of treatments, while at the Mirage Cafe, which offers an array of international cuisines, you can enjoy panoramic views of the golf course. Elsewhere, you can tuck into mouthwatering Australian beef at JW Steakhouse, sample some Lebanese flavours at Ahlein or enjoy a taste of Japan at the exotic Sushi Bar.

The hotel also offers a prime location in the Heliopolis district – a more relaxed suburb you won’t ever find – and it’s the perfect place for an evening wander.

Desert Oasis

Also to the east, within the city of New Cairo, the Westin Cairo Golf Resort & Spa, Katameya Dunes is a 27-hole desert oasis. The pristine championship course was designed by Nick Faldo and Brian Curley. Palm trees line the fairways that wend through a succession of lakes, streams and spectacular duneland. It provides a stern test, but the sound of running water in the background helps to keep you calm if you’re not at your best.

Katameya Dunes

“The courses I design are very much aimed at the thoughtful, imaginative golfer, and it’s precisely these players who will get the most out of playing at Katameya Dunes,” said Nick Faldo in 2006 as he was selected to start work on his first design project in North Africa.

No two holes here have the same feel. The fairways are generous and there’s an abundance of water features and strategically placed bunkers. The buildings of villas, the clubhouse and hotel have been carefully considered so as to not take anything away from the course. It’s a spectacular achievement by Faldo and his team, and a must-play course when exploring Cairo’s outskirts.

The hustle and bustle of the capital call for a relaxing hideaway, which is what you can expect at Marriott Mena House, the spa of which transitions beautifully from the adjoining gardens. With six massage suites and a lavish relaxation room, it’s a good place to recharge and get you back out on the fairways.

Established well over a century ago, Mena House, which has further renovations planned, is one of Egypt’s oldest courses. Located right below the Pyramids of Giza, there’s an atmosphere here quite unlike anywhere else.

Red Sea Riviera

Head towards the coast and you can swap the pyramid views for yet more stunning vistas on Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera.

Take a boat trip on the Red Sea

Located on the western Red Sea coast, just south of Hurghada, Soma Bay is home to The Cascades championship golf course. When this Gary Player-design layout opened in 1998 it gave Egypt a real gem to boast of, with its lush green fairways hugging the peninsula and providing stunning views against the backdrop of the Red Sea. Such glorious vistas are evident on the short 5th, as well as a few more holes on the inward nine, where it’s a job to keep your focus.

Meanwhile, The Cascades Spa & Thalasso is recognised as one of the best in Egypt, with 65 treatment rooms offering everything from traditional massages and beauty treatments to the latest technology for aesthetic treatments and hydrotherapy.

You won’t have any problems relaxing here, especially when staying at any of Soma Bay’s luxurious hotels, which include the Kempinski, Robinson Club and Sheraton, to name but three. Soma Bay’s 300 days of wind a year may be a challenge for golfers, but it’s a kite surfer’s dream and one of the best spots in the world for a wide range of water sports.

You can even take a few diving lessons

Not far from here, Madinat Makadi Golf Resort, which opened in 2007, is built to test the best players in the world, measuring over 7,500 yards from the back tees. Risk versus reward will challenge your course strategy as you negotiate a series of tricky ponds, while a more undulating back nine will push your fitness and technique to the limit.

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Twelve of the 18 holes overlook the Red Sea, and for five consecutive years, American John Sanford’s layout has been voted Egypt’s Best Golf Course in the World Golf Awards – some feat given the country’s impressive list of candidates.

Negotiate the 137 bunkers and your post-round drink will taste extra special.

El Gouna

Staying on the Red Sea coastline, but heading north of Hurghada, the ever-expanding El Gouna resort, with its boutique shopping, restaurants and bars, offers a luxurious stay among the lagoons and waterways. Such a beautiful peninsula setting makes for an equally picturesque course.

El Gouna

Designed by Gene Bates and Fred Couples, the mountain views and those across the Red Sea are quite something.  With carefully placed bunkers, lagoons, and desert rough, the course may sound treacherous, but it’s designed in such a way to appeal to holiday golfers as well as more accomplished players. 

Adventurous residents are perfectly placed to embark on a day trip. It’s hard to resist the allure of all the tiny islands surrounding El Gouna, best explored with a relaxing boat trip. If you’d rather head inland, you can venture into the Eastern Desert for a visit to the nearby Bedouin village or a tour of a desert monastery.

Sharm El Sheikh

Across the Gulf of Suez, Sharm El Sheikh is a purpose-built resort on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aqaba. Some of the world’s most stunning underwater scenery makes it another spot popular with divers, but it also ticks a lot of boxes for families.

Many exotic creates lurk in the Red Sea

The Maritim Jolie Ville Resort & Casino is one such place, its Thai Spa Wellness Centre providing a relaxing stay.

Jolie Ville golf course offers stunning views of the Sinai Mountains and Red Sea vistas that will live long in the memory.

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The course has hosted the European Challenge Tour and European Senior Tour, and has man-made lakes, 18 of which were added during its construction in the nineties. The water hazards also provide a safe haven for exotic birds.

Wherever your dream holiday in Egypt, there’s a wonderful golf course nearby. From the deserts in Cairo to the beaches of Soma Bay, booking a tee time is easy.

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